WJBF EXTRA: Handicapped Drivers Say They Need Their Space - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

WJBF EXTRA: Handicapped Drivers Say They Need Their Space

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By George Eskola

A car accident left Lura Maryland using a walker, and driving with a handicapped parking permit she says the close spaces are needed.

 “You have to park at a distance and then walk and then sometimes, at that time you get to the sidewalk or the store you are tired you have to sit down and rest a minute,” she said.

Walter Thomas stops in a space below the blue handicapped parking sign, he's allowed but he regularly sees others who should not be.

“It makes me feel kind of bad, it does it really does to see people abuse the use of parking places,” he said.

“It’s disrespectful to me and to other people who are handicapped that needs that space,” said Maryland

Thomas doesn’t always stay silent when he sees someone abuse a handicapped space he’ll say something to an obvious abuser.

“I have, I say don't you see the sign,” he said

Permits are required for cars to legally park in handicapped spaces in Georgia; you can see the permit on the license plate or on a placard hanging from the rearview mirror, something we didn't see on some vehicles parked in handicapped spots.

Drivers must have a doctor signature verifying their condition.  

The permit goes with the driver, so if you're in grandma's car you can't park in her handicapped spot.

“That's illegal you're not helping grandma grandma's not with you even if your running an errand for grandma,” said Marie Young the Advocacy Coordinator for Walton Options in Augusta.

 Lucious Abrams needed a handicapped parking permit after a transplant operation; he doesn’t like to see the nondisabled in handicapped parking spots. 

“All I can say to that is do the Godly thing,” he said. 

Sometimes nondisabled drivers park in a handicapped spots as they run a quick errand because it only takes a second.

“That's kind of frustrating because all of the parking places are filled and you still have to drive around until somebody leaves just for you to park in a regular parking place,” said Maryland.

Not only do you face a fine if you park in a handicapped spot, 500 dollars the sign says but also a little bit of karma because remember in this world what goes around comes around.

“Anybody at anytime can become disabled so you need to think about that because you could be that person one day riding around looking for a space and you can't go into a store because somebody has taken it up,” said Young.

It’s illegal and it isn't right to take a handicapped parking spot, those spots are rightly reserved  for those who truly need them, for those who going to the store can be a chore.

“Oh yeah it's trouble I can't wait to get to my buggy,” said Mary Blackburn as she left a handicapped spot at an Augusta Grocery store.

And it’s even harder for her when your buggy is in the way. There is a website where you can report handicapped parking abuse, as well as information on mobile phone app. Click here for more information.

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